Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My new Favorite Christmas Carol

If you like Christmas carols, you will love this one, I guarantee. Some of you might know it from church as it is being sang in this time of Christian joy or you might actually be familiar with it due to the Charlie Brown series.
You can listen to it HERE (the church version) and enjoy it as much as you like.
Or you can look for it online searching for "HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING".
Please listen and let me know what you think.
Happy Holidays everyone !
(It just began to snow again, as I type this !)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pecan Orzo with Pork Loin

This is not necessarily a new thing, as it follows almost to the letter the recipe I used for the Israeli couscous.
Very easy to make at any time and very delicious as well.
Due to the addition of wine, pecans and mild cheddar, the very white looking orzo got a dark color towards the end, but the taste was enhanced many, many times !
The pork was seasoned on both sides and cooked for 3 minutes per side, then let rest covered for 5 minutes.
The pecans....

Roasted and chopped...

The meat cooking...

The orzo cooking away...


And here, ready to eat !

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A new family member

To be clear from the beginning, I will say that I like snow and playing with it, but I don't like the cold. I know they come in one package brought by the wonderful season called Winter, but I can't help it.
And since we got the wonderful snow, I told my husband -more as a joke at first- to go outside with me and build a snow man (I remember having built my last snow man many years ago....such nice memories...) and he actually went !
I used my scarf, hat and gloves to dress him up and then used a baby carrot and raisins for his face.

Anyway, we could only use the snow on the back patio

that was humid because the rest was just as dust, wouldn't pack at all and even with as little as we had to work with, I believe we got a really nice looking snow buddy in the end.
Wouldn't you say ?

Here he is wanting to hug me...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas !

I want to say thank you to all of you who have wished me happy holidays and all the other wonderful things and I want to say to all of you who come visit me and all of you who know me a Very Merry Christmas and may all your wishes come true !
Hope Santa came last night and gave you exactly what you wished for - that is, IF you have been GOOD.
Here in Oklahoma where my husband and I live there is ever hardly any snow, but somehow last year we got snow, followed a lot of sleet, hale and then very much ice.
And this year, on Christmas eve, right before we were getting ready to go to church it began to pour with frozen droplets of rain, followed by actual snow flakes (YES, REAL SNOW FLAKES !!) - and I like to think it is because I was wishing for snow for Christmas.
Here are a few pictures of last night. Having snow is so exciting, not only because I miss it, but because this is a town where hardly ever snows !
(I won't talk about the turnpikes being closed or roads that you can't drive on.)

The snow piled up by the storm door, at the main entrance.

The car almost white, even though it is supposed to be shielded by the carport. Look how nice it's snowing !!

Ice (probably due to the fact that the temperature fell to 19 degrees F) !

I believe those are my steps in the snow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Playing with the camera

Since my husband got a new digital DSLR Nikon D90 camera and a couple of lenses, the pictures seem to just be alive !
I'll show you a few, so you can get an idea.
I never do anything to my pictures (do not use Photoshop or anything) because I like to just take a good picture and use it as it is, so this camera with these lenses are exactly what I need.
One of my favorite cups

One of my flowers

Chocolate !

Santa's favorite pillow

Don't open yet !

I'll probably post more tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sausage Cheese Soup

I will start by saying that I have not heard of sausage cheese soup, even though it might exist there somewhere.
Obviously, sausage comes in many shapes and sizes and while some like it, others don't, and nevertheless my husband loves it. Ok, I do too.
I used the recipe for Cheddar Cheese Soup and made 2 changes: one was replacing the regular onion with red/purple onion and adding raw sausage which I mashed with the onion so it would loose, just like ground meat.
It was heavenly good and I highly recommend it !

1 red onion, diced
1 to 2 cups milk, half & half or cream
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 TBSP flour
pork sausage (I used 5 or 6 inches, maybe 2 cups)

a dash of cayenne
almost 1 Lb cheddar cheese, grated

toasted bread

Clean, wash and dice your onion and place it in your medium size saucepan.

Add the raw sausage

and cook it on medium heat for about 10 minutes,

stirring with either a plastic spoon or with a potato masher, so you can bread the sausage into tiny pieces.
After the time has passed and the sausage looks cooked, add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often.

And then it should look like this.

Add the heated liquids and stir slowly, cooking for 10 more minutes.

A close-up after a little more liquid has been added :

At this point add the seasonings and cheese

and cook some more stirring continuously for the cheese to melt.
It will be luscious and creamy.

Ladle some in your favorite bowl and add the freshly toasted bread.

If you like cayenne pepper, sprinkle some on top, just for garnish mainly.

While my husband had this soup, I had a tuna salad.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Israeli Couscous with Pork Loin

I have mentioned some time ago that I have been to Whole Foods to buy some quinces, since that was the only place that seemed to be selling them back in late September or early October.
Well, I went again a couple more times to get some other stuff, among which I got Filbert hazelnuts and Israeli couscous.
Not having been there too many times and not having bought anything that is being sold in bulk, I had no idea that you have to get a code and stick it on your bag before you proceed to the register.
So there I was, holding the couscous bag in my hand

and telling the salesperson that I did not know about any code, and because I only had like 1 cup of couscous in total and because they could not find the code in their system to charge me for it, I hear him saying "I'm going to sample this one out to you".
Thanks !
If you look close, you will notice that some of the pasta pearls are actually toasted.
Some people toast them even further to enhance the nutty taste.

So I got home and after a while I decided I need to tackle the mistery that lies behind this kind of couscous.
For those of you who might not know, this is a PASTA variety and it is very different from the other varieties of couscous which are just being let to sit in liquid and then being fluffed up and served.
This cooks and tastes like pasta because it is pasta.
I decided to pair it with some pecans and it was oh so good !

2 pieces of boneless pork loin,lightly greased, salted and peppered

1 TBSP butter
3/4 to 1 cup Israeli couscous

80-100 ml wine

200-225 ml water or broth/stock
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 handful pecans or other nuts

Examine, then measure your couscous.
Pick your wine and measure it- I used this variety because that what my husband had bought for us to try out and it worked really well, but use any kind you like.

Then toast the whole nuts, chopping them when cool.
At 350 F for 5 to 10 minutes will do just fine.

Melt the butter over medium heat,

then add the couscous

and toast for 3 minutes, stirring often.

Add all the liquids (you can heat them prior to adding them if you wish) and the nuts

and bring to a boil.
Now reduce the heat to a soft boil or a simmer, cover and let cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until almost all the liquid is gone.
Remove from heat and add the salt, pepper and cheese,

stirring for the cheese to melt.

For the pork loin, heat a cast iron skillet and cook the meat 2 to 3 minutes on each side, on medium-high heat.

Let it rest for 3 to 6 minutes before eating, covered in aluminum foil, so the juices can redistribute.

Plate and enjoy !